Shock. 2024 Jan 1;61(1):83-88. doi: 10.1097/SHK.0000000000002266. Epub 2023 Oct 31.


Background: Multiple-organ dysfunction syndrome disproportionately contributes to pediatric sepsis morbidity. Humanin (HN) is a small peptide encoded by mitochondrial DNA and thought to exert cytoprotective effects in endothelial cells and platelets. We sought to test the association between serum HN (sHN) concentrations and multiple-organ dysfunction syndrome in a prospectively enrolled cohort of pediatric septic shock. Methods: Human MT-RNR2 ELISA was used to determine sHN concentrations on days 1 and 3. The primary outcome was thrombocytopenia-associated multiorgan failure (TAMOF). Secondary outcomes included individual organ dysfunctions on day 7. Associations across pediatric sepsis biomarker (PERSEVERE)-based mortality risk strata and correlation with platelet and markers of endothelial activation were tested. Results: One hundred forty subjects were included in this cohort, of whom 39 had TAMOF. The concentration of sHN was higher on day 1 relative to day 3 and among those with TAMOF phenotype in comparison to those without. However, the association between sHN and TAMOF phenotype was not significant after adjusting for age and illness severity in multivariate models. In secondary analyses, sHN was associated with presence of day 7 sepsis-associated acute kidney injury ( P = 0.049). Furthermore, sHN was higher among those with high PERSEVERE-mortality risk strata and correlated with platelet counts and several markers of endothelial activation. Conclusion: Future investigation is necessary to validate the association between sHN and sepsis-associated acute kidney injury among children with septic shock. Furthermore, mechanistic studies that elucidate the role of HN may lead to therapies that promote organ recovery through restoration of mitochondrial homeostasis among those critically ill.

MeSH terms

  • Acute Kidney Injury* / complications
  • Biomarkers
  • Child
  • Endothelial Cells
  • Humans
  • Intracellular Signaling Peptides and Proteins*
  • Multiple Organ Failure
  • Sepsis*
  • Shock, Septic*
  • Thrombocytopenia*


  • humanin
  • Biomarkers
  • Intracellular Signaling Peptides and Proteins